The completion of the group stage of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy following the final two rounds of fixtures* saw more teams earn their place in the draw for the Round of 32.
Blackpool sailed through from Group A with three wins from three after securing victory in something of a local derby against Morecambe, who missed out on the chance to join them in the knock-out stage. Two goals from Jake Beesley saw the League 1 side book their place alongside Liverpool U21s in the draw, with a goal from Farrend Rawson coming too late to save Morecambe.
With the top two places already confirmed in Group B, the fixture between Crewe Alexandra and Newcastle U21s would determine who took third in the group. A late goal from Connor Evans would prove to be the difference as the League 2 side bowed out with a 2-1 victory against their academy rivals.
The battle to make it through from Group C went down to the final game, with Carlisle United left sweating on the result of the game between Accrington Stanley and Nottingham Forest U21. Carlisle’s 2-0 win over Harrogate Town had given them hope of progression, but goals from Jack Thompson and Julian Larsson saw Forest’s youngsters join Accrington in going through – with Stanley topping the group despite a 2-1 defeat that included an injury time penalty miss.
Group D saw Wigan Athletic join Fleetwood in the next round after a win on penalties away at Tranmere Rovers following a goaless draw whilst Bolton Wanderers confirmed their position as Group E winners with a 2-0 success against Stockport County thanks to two goals from J�n Da�i B��varsson. Both teams had already confirmed their places in the knock out stage.
Matty Platt, Andy Cook, Tyler Smith, Lewis Richards and Clarke Oduor all scored for Bradford City as the Bantams took top spot in Group F with a 5-1 win against Barnsley, who had to settle for second place, whilst Burton Albion’s 2-1 win over Mansfield Town in Group H thanks to goals from Cole Stockton and Thomas Hamer saw them progress in place of their rivals following a ‘winner takes all’ final game.
With the two qualifier from Group A already confirmed, Shrewsbury Town cemented third place with a 3-2 win against Walsall at the New Meadow whilst in Group B, Charlton Athletic made it through at the expense of Sutton United thanks to a 3-0 win after goals from Corey Blackett-Taylor, Conor McGrandles and Alife May.
Wycombe Wanderers cemented top spot in Group C after a goal from Kieran Sadlier earned a 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon – who go through in second place – whilst Colchester United beat Peterbrough United by the same score thanks Bradley Ihionvien’s first half strike to join their rivals in progressing from Group D.
MK Dons took top spot in Group F after a dramatic flurry of late goals in the 3-2 win over Northampton Town, with Dawson Devoy scoring the winner just a minute after a penalty from Tyreece Simpson looked to have salvaged a draw.
Reading’s 5-2 win over Arsenal U21 – which featured two goals from Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan – secured top spot in Group G as both teams qualified, with Exeter ending a difficult campaign on a high with a 1-0 win away at Swindon to avoid finishing bottom of the group.
Bristol Rovers meanwhile secured second spot in Group H at the expense of Newport County thanks to an Antony Evans goal in a 1-0 win.